Monster High reboot: Fierce or frightening?

Monster High is a beloved doll line released by Mattel in 2010. The line featured unique characters that were all descendants of famous monsters, such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and Medusa. The doll line was also accompanied by a viral web series and several 3D animated movies. However, in 2016, Mattel announced that all Monster High products would be discontinued. But that would only last for about six years.

On Oct. 6, 2022, Nickelodeon announced that they would be releasing a live-action Monster High reboot film. This brought waves of feedback from fans around the world, both positive and negative. The movie wasn’t the only thing rising from the dead this year, as shortly after the movie was announced, a brand new line of Monster High dolls would be hitting the shelves.

While many Monster High fans were elated about the resurgence, there was plenty of criticism to be shared. The most widely agreed upon critique was the new redesigns of the classic characters. Many felt that the new designs strayed too far from the original and that all the monsters’ character traits had been lost. Personally, I believe the designs are very refreshing. The dolls have a modern spin on alternative fashion, and I can see how this would be appealing to younger audiences. Another bit of positive feedback was for the dolls finally having a wide range of body types. Before, the dolls all looked pretty much the same, with slim arms, tiny torsos, and long legs. This time around, we have tall, short, curvy, skinny, and everything in between. 

This reboot also came with an animated television show that was set to air on Nickelodeon as well, which also received plenty of criticism. The storyline was completely different from the original, which is to be expected, but most people were upset that the characters’ personalities had completely changed. One positive bit of feedback was that there was more LGBTQ and minority representation. Frankie Stein, the main character, uses they/them pronouns in the show. Lagoona Blue, the daughter of a sea monster, is Hispanic and embraces her culture and being different throughout the series. Representation in Monster High isn’t a new thing, though. Even in the original line, we had a wide range of characters. Clawdeen Wolf was confirmed by the creator to have been a lesbian, and we even had characters from all kinds of cultural backgrounds, such as Jinafire Long, a Chinese dragon character. Another fan favorite was Skelita Calaveras, a skeleton girl from Mexico.

Overall, this reboot had very mixed reviews. That’s not to say it wasn’t successful, though, as stores were sold out of the new doll line in the first few days after they were put out for sale. To many, this reboot seemed to be targeted at old fans reuniting with the brand, but in actuality, this reboot is to introduce Monster High to a new generation of young fans who will hopefully be just as passionate as older fans once were.